Maharashtra state human rights panel clears only 50,000 since 2007, 1 lakh cases still pending

Mumbai: The number of pending cases with the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) are mounting. Since 2007, a total of 1,17,094 cases are pending with the commission. Shockingly, the MSHRC seems to be working at a snail’s pace as the commission has managed to dispose of a mere of 53,137 cases since 2007.

Recently, a judgement was passed asking hospital authorities to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the patients who were been bitten by rats. “Suo moto was taken against the incident by the MSHRC where three patients were bitten by rats while undergoing treatment at the civic-run hospital Babasaheb Ambedkar Municipal General Hospital. But, many of the cases registered with the commission remain pending for years,” said official.

In 2007, the number of year-ending pending cases were only 5,447 that rose to 15,555 in 2017. However, the new cases registered with the commission has seen a plunge in the graph in comparison to the past ten years. In 2007, 6,473 new cases were recorded with the commission that saw a deep to 4,585 in 2017. Senior officers of the commission said the rising pendency was due to the fact that the MSHRC had been without any judicial officer for almost 20 months. During the period, the staff only accepted the complaints and no action was taken on them. “The functioning of the commission is akin to that of a court and in the absence of any judicial officer, we could not process them. With new complaints being filed with the commission every day, the pendency will rise,” said an officer.

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He added that the commission cannot be blamed for the delays as often there is a delay in receipt of requisite reports from the concerned authorities in the State and Central Government. In some cases, the matter is pending adjudication before Supreme Court/High Court with a stay on the case.

The commission was constituted under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 that is responsible of protecting human rights. In cases where the allegations are substantial but the concerned department hasn’t taken appropriate steps, the commission has the right to take suo moto of the case. They can take appropriate action to protect human rights, grant of monetary relief to the victims.

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